Virginia TV Shooting: Is This the New Normal?

WDBJ observes moment of silence as killing's social-media presence resonates
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 27, 2015 7:00 AM CDT
Virginia TV Shooting: Is This the New Normal?
Flowers, balloons, and cards are left for the staff of WDBJ7 as well as cards for Alison Parker and Adam Ward in front of WDBJ's location in Roanoke, Va.   (SALEM TIMES REGISTER; FINCASTLE HERALD; CHRISTIANSBURG NEWS MESSENGER; RADFORD NEWS JOURNAL; ROANOKE STAR SENTINEL; MANDATORY CREDIT MAGS OUT; NO SALES)

Roanoke station WDBJ-TV observed a moment of silence at 6:45am today to mark the moment that reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were shot to death on live TV yesterday, reports AP. Their deaths, and the way killer Vester Flanagan went about them, continue to resonate:

  • New normal? The Washington Post talks to psychologists about how Flanagan's sharing of the killing on social media is unfortunately becoming more common. "Once people start doing it, other people get the idea, and it becomes the norm,” says one.

  • Leave pages up? At Slate, Justin Peters understands why Flanagan's self-made video of the murders was quickly yanked offline. But he thinks Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn should not have pulled all of Flanagan's pages. It "seems less a matter of granting the victims dignity and more about not wanting to give offense." The information helps people understand what happened.
  • It's not 'entertainment': Echoing the above sentiment, Mary McNamara at the Los Angeles Times objects to the sentiment that watching such videos is a victory for the killer. It's not gratuitous. "We do not watch news reports in which police brutalize teenagers or armies level villages for entertainment's sake. We watch to see what happened. We watch because no amount of aftermath reporting or narrative reconstruction captures an event with more power and clarity than video footage."
  • But that cover: The Daily News is catching flak for its "Executed on Live TV" cover, with three images of the moment as Parker gets shot, reports the Huffington Post. It rounds up some of the reaction, such as "classless."
(More shooting stories.)

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